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Peter Henley, Political editor, South of England

Peter Henley Political editor, South of England

This is where you can find my thoughts on politics in the south of England - from parish councils in Sussex to European politics in Oxford

Why was Oxford child abuse ignored?

  • 4 March 2015
  • From the section Oxford

"If the perpetrators could spot these vulnerable children, why couldn't the authorities?"

The words of one victim, summing up the question asked by many after the release of the serious case review into child sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire.

Maggie Blyth, the independent reviewer, made it clear that: "The review describes a culture in Oxfordshire where the value of escalation to the top was not understood."

Why was there a failure to act on clear evidence? How was a culture of tolerance allowed to develop? What was the lack of understanding that caused delays, that allowed people to get away with their crimes?

Guilty members of Oxford sex grooming ring (Top L-R) Mohammed Karrar, Bassam Karrar, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, (Bottom) Kamar Jamil, Assad Hussain, Zeesham Ahmed
The report was published following the jailing in 2013 of seven men, who targeted vulnerable girls and plied them with alcohol and drugs

Following the report's publication, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told the House of Commons: "At the heart of this are the young people who have been utterly let down by the system and whose lives have been blighted."

Read full article Why was Oxford child abuse ignored?

What motivates a campaigner?

  • 26 February 2015
  • From the section Berkshire
campaigners outside the House of Commons

Tracey Fidler and Hayley Lindsay had their lives turned upside down on 13 February last year.

Their fiancées Kris Jarvis and John Morland were out cycling in Berkshire when they were hit and killed by a drunk driver.

Read full article What motivates a campaigner?

David Cameron's check shirt makeover

  • 25 February 2015
  • From the section Oxford
PM

There's an old joke about the BBC journalist's shirt. It is like our pay - small cheques.

But when the prime minister chooses a shirt with small checks, there's a different message.

Read full article David Cameron's check shirt makeover

Snowballs the least of Eastleigh's hazards

On the News Channel at 10.35am this morning I was talking about politics, as I do, on the corner of Leigh Road, Eastleigh, when someone threw a snowball at me.

I say threw. He barely placed it on my arm, bless him.

Read full article Snowballs the least of Eastleigh's hazards

Tricky questions from the youngest

MP and questioners from Berewood Primary School
MP and questioners from Berewood Primary School

It takes a difficult question to floor George Hollingbery, MP for Meon Valley in Hampshire.

I wouldn't like to suggest he has an answer for everything, just that he's someone who's thought about a wide range of issues, and has always been happy to tackle whatever I've thrown at him on the Sunday Politics.

Read full article Tricky questions from the youngest

Making the tourist bus travel further

  • 19 January 2015
  • From the section Dorset

You see an awful lot of tourists around Westminster. They pose for photos in front of Big Ben and queue to take the river buses. They spend a lot of money.

There are Germans, Scandinavians, a growing number nowadays from Korea and China. And sometimes you want to take them aside and quietly ask why they've not thought of travelling a bit further afield to see the real Britain away from the capital.

committee taking evidence
The committee taking evidence

Read full article Making the tourist bus travel further

Dorset's Christopher Chope drawn to UKIP debate

  • 11 December 2014
  • From the section Dorset

"Let's have a little sport!" was Chris Chope's reaction to hearing about UKIP's historic first debate in the House of Commons.

Chris Chope MP

It had been called by Douglas Carswell on the subject of energy prices, and UKIP's second MP Mark Reckless came to support his colleague in Grand Committee room off Westminster Hall.

Read full article Dorset's Christopher Chope drawn to UKIP debate

Is it ever OK to play Candy Crush in a meeting?

  • 8 December 2014
  • From the section England

Politicians have been playing games in meetings since meetings began. Running rings around your opponents is in the job description.

But the MP caught playing the addictive game Candy Crush in Parliament has opened a can of worms.

Read full article Is it ever OK to play Candy Crush in a meeting?

The only certainties are death and taxes

  • 4 December 2014
  • From the section England

"It's not slab, it's variable", that was my helpful phrase for Autumn Statement day, as we struggled to work out what the chancellor had done to Stamp Duty.

The old system was simple, but threw up a problem. Huge spikes of house sales at £250,000 and £500,000 - just below the threshold of a higher rate stamp duty. The treasury's graph illustrates it well:

stamp duty graph

Read full article The only certainties are death and taxes

Is the £15bn for new roads a vote winner?

Traffic cone

The newspapers are saying the announcement of new money for road improvements is all about appealing to voters in marginal seats. There are three problems with that.

Election timing

However, the timing of this is all about the election.

Read full article Is the £15bn for new roads a vote winner?

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About Peter

Peter Henley has been a reporter in the South of England for more than 20 years, covering five elections and interviewing all the party leaders since Edward Heath.

Favourite assignments include flying to Antigua at three hours' notice to report on a volcano erupting and mysteriously being unable to come straight home.

Peter enjoys old cars, new gadgets and playing cricket. He lives in the New Forest with his three sons and wife Sam, who's a counsellor.

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